Cambridge University accused of censorship for threatening to cancel BDS event

BDS co-founder Omar Barghouti spoke at the university on Wednesday amidst controversy.

November 12, 2017 12:13
1 minute read.
Building at Cambridge University in England.

Building at Cambridge University in England.. (photo credit: REUTERS)


Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analysis from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief


Academics and student activists have slammed the University of Cambridge, accusing it of censorship for threatening to cancel an event hosted by the Palestine Society featuring BDS founder Omar Barghouti.

The university sought to remove Prof. Ruba Salih from her position as chairwoman of the event. Salih, who is a lecturer in the School of African and Oriental Studies, is Palestinian; the university, in calling for her replacement, cited a need for “open, robust and lawful debate,” suggesting Salih would not be able to facilitate such a dialogue due to her background.

The student organizer of the event, Ed McNally, said that the university was “bowing to external pressure from a pro-Israel lobby group.”

Students and academics from Cambridge and dozens of other British universities penned a letter to the university, protesting what they called a “threat to academic freedom.”

The petition, which has garnered hundreds of signatures in a matter of days, names StandWithUs as the “pro-Israel lobby” that demanded the university cancel the event.

The organization “rests on a litany of potentially libelous and bigoted accusations of racism against Omar Barghouti” and also against one of the panel speakers, National Union of Students president Malia Bouattia.

The petition defends Barghouti and claims the government has waged a campaign of “intimidation” against him, including charges of “civil assassination,” detention and arrogation, which they term “common practice for Israel in its treatment of human rights defenders.”

Barghouti, an Israeli resident and graduate of Tel Aviv University, is a founding member of the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel.

Often accused of antisemitism, he has equated Israel with an apartheid state. Barghouti was arrested in early 2017 on charges of tax evasion.

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

May 24, 2019
Doctoral graduate praises BDS at NYU convocation ceremony